Now Do You REALLY Want To Go Camping?
NOT ALL PEOPLE
This is NOT an expose' on some mysterious cover-up in the world of campers and outdoor camping. This is merely a personal attempt to prepare the would-be outdoor camper(s) about the sometimes-harsh realities that accompany outdoor camping.
Believe me, would-be camper. I've been where you are wanting to go. Outside with your camping equipment, family or even your buddies for a weekend or maybe an entire week of communing with Mother Nature.
All I ask is that you think your outdoor adventure through BEFORE you set sail for the great outdoors. You might be thanking me later.
THESE ARE ACTUAL PHOTOS OF HOW HARSH AND UNPREDICTABLE OUTDOOR CAMPING CAN BE
I'M NOT A SPOIL-SPORT BY ANY MEANS
I believe in live and let live. Choosing my battles. Minding my own business. But I also believe in being up-front with people who are about to do something that is an entirely-new experience. I want to be thought of as helpful. Neighborly. And someone who, if he can help but one soul, then his work is finished.
I want to talk about camping. You know. Outdoor camping. The camping that we naturally associate with a picturesque American family consisting of a middle-class, successful man and woman with two highly-academic-minded kids named, Tommy and Judy and the fixture of Americana, the family dog, whose name is "Checkers," a noble Collie who is the most-humble and loyal dog ever to live in suburbia.
This family, whom we will call, the "Jones family," for they are the ones whom everyone around them uses them as a measuring stick of success. They hit the road in their leased Jeep Cherokee packed with the latest camping gear by Sears, Bass Pro Shops, and "Barney's Back Woods Supply, Inc.," Mr. Jones just happen to see in an ad in his Sunday newspaper. The Jones family is a happy family. They have no stress issues, tax problems, or serious matters of the marital sense. No wonder they are all smiles as they dream of their destination: Buzzard Neck, Nevada, home of pure, unadulterated wilderness and adjoining camprounds.
But not long after the Jones family arrives at the Buzzard Neck Camping Galore, Inc., they seem shocked. Surprised. Confused. Mr. Jones looks at Mrs. Jones who looks at Tommy and Judy all with glazed eyes and frozen facial expressions. "Uh, honey," remarks Mr. Jones. "Where are the other people? You know, the people we seen in the camping brochure we received in the mail?" he adds straining his neck to see if he has made an error in judgement of finding this campground.
Nope. The Jones family are right at home. Or fish out of suburban America, I should say. It's a very pitiful sight to see this camping-wannabe Jones family struggle to unpack their Jeep Cherokee loaded down with every conceivable home appliance known to man. They even brought along a handy Honda generator for power. What will they think of next? The Jones children, Tommy and Judy, seem lost. Disoriented. Out of place. They look on with silent hope that their dad knows 'something' about camping. Their young hopes are suddenly-dashed as Mr. Jones allows himself to be, as it were, 'eaten alive,' by the Sears Tough Nut Tent that sleeps eight people comfortably. Mrs. Jones gasps in fear as she sees her husband's feet disappear into the mangled, tangled, pile of plastic, fabric, and twine roping that is supposed to hold the tent in an upright position. This is something that the Jones family has never encountered. The closest thing to outdoor camping they, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, have ever experienced, was the time they met at their church's All-American Teen Rally held in Sarasota, Florida, when they were both young at heart.
Seems a long time ago. Much like ten light-years ago when Mr. Jones, a decent-built, athletic guy, could take on and overcome most challenges that life threw at him. And Mrs. Jones loved that in him. So she never took it on herself to learn anything. About anything. Especially the advent of outdoor camping.
Looking back, it seemed such a grand idea. Outdoor camping. All week-end. With the entire family. At picturesque. Peaceful. And safe, Buzzard Neck Camp Ground. Life has a way of beating the best of us down in order to teach us the way to live. And sensibly-survive with our dignity intact.
Just what would have happened if, and I mean a big "IF," Mr. Jones, normally the most level-headed, logical, and quietest man in his over-mortgaged neighborhood had just taken the priceless tool of time to check out all the in's and outs. Do's and Dont's. Of outdoor camping. As I am about to bring up in a minute.
His family would have had a great weekend. Safe. Happy. Secure. Now all that's left for the Jones family is to kneel down and pray to God, who does hear the prayers of the uneducated. Uninformed. Head-long people who think that they know all about a new wrinkle that has surfaced in their lives only to discover how foolish they were at heart for not using their heads.
Now listen carefully. If you, your family and friends are of a special breed who literally and figuratively love the spills. Chills. Skinned knees and elbows. Lost sleep. And other annoyances of the wilderness, then disregard this story entirely. I am not talking to you. I am though, talking to all the wide-eyed, so-called adventurous-at-heart people, young and old, who have bought into the illusion that outdoor camping is a breeze and think that they can easily 'lick' with shiny pride, the unknown factors that lurk everywhere around the once-fun activity of outdoor camping.
I should know plenty about outdoor camping. My family and I used to love to camp. At anytime. Any reason. With our without other people. We were there. In any camp ground. Near or far. KOA, Sam's Club, Wilderness Club, it didn't matter.We were really sunk into camping.
We, I think at this stage of my life, made our selves love the idea of sleeping in a tent under the stars--listening to the harmonious sounds of the crickets, frogs and other wilderness creatures whose song was really entitled, "Just Look At The Human Camping Fools," that we thought was the sweet sounds of nature.
We loved camping to such a degree that we once slept through a fierce thunderstorm while we looked out out tent windows at our plates, cups, and most of our supplies being blown to Kingdom Come by the howling winds. Ahh, the flashes of lightning. Crashing thunder. Better sleep-aids than any Sominex you can buy.
Yes, outdoor camper wannabe's, you can save money by camping. Yes, for a short while, you will find an unspoken sense of newly-found independence and freedom of being away from the smoggy city and loud highway traffic. I am not arguing about that. I am just trying desperately to get you, maybe just one of you, to stop. Think. And really look at every aspect of outdoor camping. I am not joking. Or telling you a lie. What would I profit by doing either to you?
I am now finished with my lecture, well a personal commentary about the harsh truths about outdoor camping. And again, I am not here to spoil your fun, but to help you make an intelligent decision of whether or not you would really, deep down in your humble heart, love outdoor camping.
If you are convinced. After all I have said. Brought up . Brought out. In this story, that you are ready. Prepared. And would really love outdoor camping. I say, "have at it." Be my guest. With my blessings.
But I will confess to you that from all of my outdoor camping experiences, the only outdoor camping my family and I will do now, at this juncture of our lives, is bedding down in a cool, comfortable, Holiday Inn Express. Maybe a Marriott. Okay. A Days Inn. These are the 'camp grounds' for me.
And as I am finishing up this story at 12:36 p.m., cst, on Friday morning, Nov. 25, 2011, it occured to me that some hubs are planned. And some hubs just happen.
I trust you to discern how this one became a reality.
DISCLAIMER: Holiday Inn Express, Marriott, or Days Inn neither offered or paid me to include their names in this story. (Kenneth Avery).
WANNABE . . .
These things also accompany outdoor camping:
- NOSY NEIGHBORS
- CAMPING PARTY PEOPLE WHO THROW LOUD, BOOZE-LADEN PARTIES UNTIL THE BREAK OF DAY
- UNKNOWN SOUNDS IN THE NIGHT
JUST BE CAREFUL. AND BE SURE THAT OUTDOOR CAMPING IS FOR YOU.